For more than 40 years, Leon Panetta has split his life on two coasts: his home in California and his work in Washington, D.C. It's a career that included 16 years in Congress, stints as White House chief of staff for President Clinton, and as the head of the CIA and the Pentagon under President Obama.
As Panetta prepares to leave his job as defense secretary, he sat down with Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday, to talk about his years in Washington and serving in the Obama administration.
While the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be secretary of defense has drawn opposition from groups who question his views on policy toward Israel and Iran, the nomination of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be CIA director may be delayed by senators who want to know more about last September's attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said in a statement Monday that he looks forward to working with Brennan at the CIA. Still, the Brennan nomination will raise questions about Obama's national security policy.
NPR coverage of the Hagel/Brennan nomination announcements
President Obama this afternoon nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
In those two, the president said, he has chosen men with experience in the field and who "understand the consequences of decisions we make in this town" on the men and women who serve America around the world,